Travis Vanderzanden founded Bird Ride Scooters, usually referred to as Bird or Bird Scooters, in 2017 in Venice, California. Vanderzanden says that he has been fascinated by transportation since he was a kid. His mother was a bus driver and he often went along with her on the route after school. He watched (and wondered) with fascination at how people managed to get to the bus stop or get home after getting off of the bus.
Believing that bicycles are a thing of the past, Vanderzanden found that people were extremely interested in renting electric scooters, which provide a simple, economical, and green way to “catch a ride.” Scooters can be left virtually anywhere and picked up the same way. The company charges $5 for the rental, then charges by the minute. Vanderzanden solved the recharging problem by adding a section to the mobile app showing which scooters needed charging and where they were located. The company pay $4 per scooter for people to pick them up, take them home and recharge them. All scooters are picked up and put back in their original rental spaces after 9 PM when it’s illegal in most places to ride them due to a lack of lighting on the scooters.
Many cities, however, are unhappy with the electric scooters, claiming that riders violate the laws and that scooters are dumped anywhere and everywhere, causing a nuisance. Vanderzanden says that the company tries to educate people on scooter laws and etiquette but the company itself is not to blame if people don’t obey the laws.
Bird Ride currently has headquarters in Santa Monica, California, known as the “Beach Silicon Valley” since numerous startups have offices in this city on the ocean.